A true lover of baseball, Tyler was RIDING HIGH in the summer of 2005 when he was playing second base in the county baseball tournament and turned an unassisted triple play. The crowd went wild, he got a spot in the local newspaper and then he celebrated his 8th birthday at Turner field in Atlanta watching his favorite major league team, the Braves, play ball. Little did we know how much his life would change within the next year. Fast forward to baseball season, 2006, and the picture was quite different. Tyler was experiencing unpredictable mood swings, irritability, a lack of energy and trouble concentrating. As parents, we thought he was just going through a phase and cracked down on him in an effort to get him to straighten up. School started in early August and more issues surfaced. He began to get up several times through the night to use the bathroom. We thought he was drinking too much water at night or perhaps he was nervous about school but when the problem escalated, we decided to take him to the doctor. I knew that frequent urination could be a symptom of Type 1 diabetes, but never dreamed that he could really have that problem. Upon arrival at the doctor's office, a urine sample was taken and we were told that there was such a large amount of glucose in the specimen that the machine couldn't adequately measure it. We were admitted to our local ER for more testing and the diagnosis was confirmed; Tyler has Type 1 diabetes. We had to make a decision on where to go for treatment and even though it was 1 ½ hours away, we chose to go to Children's Hospital. We made the trip from Athens to Birmingham, by ambulance, that very same night. Just after we arrived, the Children's ER staff wanted to start a second IV. A sheer panic set in for Tyler and the entire family. It had taken five people at the local hospital to hold him down for the first one! The staff at Children’s picked up on his fear and began reassuring him. MUCH to my disbelief, in a matter of just a few moments, he closed his eyes, held my hand and held the other hand out for them to start the new line. At that very moment, I knew we were in the right place. We spent the next several days in the hospital. We were all impressed with his Endocrinologist, Dr. Moreland, because of the caring way she talked to Tyler and the compassion she showed for all of us during this very difficult time. He was started on the dreaded insulin injections and we began working with Diabetes educators, nutritionists and social workers, all of whom really played a valuable role in providing us with the information we needed to best handle this terrible card that had been dealt to my dear son. We had some truly special nurses on the floor as well. In fact, Tyler really bonded with the guy who was assigned to him during the daytime hours and insisted that we take their picture together before we left the hospital. I don't think he will ever forget about him.
I don’t know how we would have managed since Tyler's diagnosis without the great support we’ve received from our team at Children’s Hospital. They have been there with us each step of the way. When dealing with such a disease as Type 1 Diabetes, knowing that help is only a phone call away, day or night, 24 hours a day, is absolutely priceless. Our family will always be grateful for the wonderful support we receive from all of the staff at Children’s hospital. The best decision we ever made was to make that 1 ½ hour drive to Birmingham so Tyler could receive treatment at, what we believe is, the BEST place for kids.